Tinhorn: Stereowide (Broom Factory Records)

Stereowide comes from that all-too-brief period before music became bloated, when it was more about the melody and less about the business.

Writing a review of Tinhorn’s solid new CD, Stereowide, should be easy, but it becomes a tougher job the more I listen. This beautiful collection of songs reminds me of some of the best ’60s and early ’70s rock, with nuggets that echo Badfinger in full Paul McCartney–mode. Stereowide comes from that all-too-brief period before music became bloated, when it was more about the melody and less about the business. This album also shares the textures and tunefulness of Fastball’s breakout album, All the Pain Money Can Buy…and that is where the ease of this review ends. Fastball’s album, like this one, had one slight problem—its parts were excellent, but they didn’t add up. Both were collections of songs by talented bands that write exceptional lyrics and music; however, with all the wares on display, the effect is overwhelming.

Stereowide bounces from style and influence as if there had been rock icons lined up at Sean Garcia’s door, begging to get in. “What You See” sounds so simple, yet it surreptitiously takes you out to the edge and then gently lures you back to earth. “How it Goes” and “Lift You Up” are like classic songs that have been around for years: you know exactly where to shake your head, you know which way your senses will fly. They are simply great songs. In fact, this is a CD filled with great songs. Very rarely does the album hit anything less than a perfect note.

That said, “overwhelming” is the word I would have to pick. This is not a negative thing; more like finding a food court in the middle of a desert and being unable to make up your mind: do you want pizza or a burger? Perhaps I am too used to having one or two standout songs on a CD that get played to death on the radio; here I have 13 separate songs and I truly care for each of them, all of them—but I wish they were all one restaurant. Stereowide feels like a greatest hits CD, and I want the original albums.

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